Value scores: down. reliability scores: down. Customer loyalty: no surprise—these numbers are down, too. Increasingly, CIOs are disappointed and disgruntled with the performance of their most important vendors. In fact, the number of companies with lower scores in 2006 than in 2005 outpaces those with higher scores by a margin of two to one.
This bad news is the key finding of our Vendor Value Survey for 2006. Once a year, we poll IT executives on how well their most important vendors meet their expectations for providing business value, and on the reliability and quality of their service. This year, nearly 850 qualified respondents answered the bell. We stayed with our familiar format, but added eight new companies, and included wireless telecom service vendors, such as Cingular and T-Mobile, for the first time.
Two newcomers, CDW and Trend Micro, moved past last year’s winner, Red Hat, to take first and second place. Research In Motion, Hewlett-Packard, Citrix and Motorola, also on our previous top-ten list, improved their scores. Still, the big story is the overall downward trend: The security sector didn’t fare as well as last year; just over half of respondents gave telecom companies thumbs up for reliability; and the ratings for Indian outsourcing firms sank to the low levels of their U.S. counterparts.
Other researchers have picked up this wave of discontent: A recent study by the Customer Respect Group found IT vendors’ Web sites are the worst of any industry at responding to customers’ questions. Vendors need to regain the respect of their customers now, while the economy is strong. Otherwise, if times get hard, CIOs won’t stick around when their budgets start getting cut.